Reflections on Systemic Change – Week 11

CCK08 – This was written but forgotten in draft mode for the last week. So, through the magic of the internet, I’ve backdated it to reflect that. It’s interesting to see the connectivism work to some extent in a small class (and let’s face it, this large class is actually a large class with a small active component of 40-50 people). Can this change over into a larger scale? In one of my earliest Moodle postings, I commented that the paradigm had already shifted, albeit that was in reference to copyright, the sentiment is the same. I’m sure there a definite change in how people interact with computers, especially the newest influx of higher education students.

So there’s a change with how people interact with computers, so does that necessarily mean there’s a shift in how they learn? No. It does mean that there’s a shift in how they operate, and in which environments they feel comfortable in. Does that mean there’s a shift in how educators should teach? Yes. In my opinion, good teachers find new ways regardless of what is going on around them. Curiosity should be rewarded.

Dunbar’s number of approximately 150 suggests that maybe networked theories of learning are limited to smaller social connections than what a systemic change might require. Perhaps the weaknesses of prior learning theories were in that they didn’t account for informal learning as much as connectivism does. We’ve been working with Dewey for almost a century, Freire for about half that; not exactly a ringing endorsement of formal education being a social emancipator.

Informal education, well, there’s another story all together. Social organizations understand that formal education is to fit people into roles in society (whether that be engineers, artists, musicians…). Political movements understand that as well, and I think that’s why we see a distinct lack of formal training outside of the corporate world, who wants to deal with the classes, boring lectures and the formality of it all? Anything you need to learn in a social context you learn by doing. Lots of what you learn in school is by listening and reading. Is it any surprise that there’s a gap?

Hopefully connectivism addresses this gap. I think, as it stands now, it does.